Tales of Cupcake Cutthroatery

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Harmless? Think again. Photo: Courtesy Crumbs

If you think selling cupcakes is all rainbows and lollipops, think again — it's an icing fight to stay afloat out there. In the wide world of miniature confections, Cake & Shake stands out as particularly beleaguered; the milkshake and cupcake cart first weathered a copycat not long ago, and now it's suffering at the hands of a loophole that lets veterans (like, of the Armed Forces) circumvent rules about vending on the streets. As New York Street Food reports, Cake & Shake paid more than $100,000 for its permit to park in a primo spot in front of the Metropolitan Museum, while less scrupulous carts have been simply hiring veterans to sell for them. Now Cake & Shake is on the verge of going out of business.

Funnily enough, that's not the only tale of cupcake-related foul play we've heard of late. A certain vendor who requested confidentiality in the interest of maintaining a livelihood called us recently with the news that another cupcake company seemed to be trying to squelch the competition in less-than-ethical ways. The cupcake vendor mentioned that CupcakeStop (which is not closed, after all) liked to park its trucks in front of bakeries around town, reportedly only moving if they agreed to carry the company's goods. (When Grub Street checked out locations as tweeted by CupcakeStop, they did frequently happen to be in front of or near bakeries or other locales that sold cupcakes, though we weren't able to confirm the latter claim.) Positioning oneself near the competition is no crime, but if the rest is true, it's definitely fishy. At any rate, all this is making doughnuts sound prrretty appealing right now.

CAKE & SHAKE GOING ON A RENT STRIKE [NY Street Food]